Keith Kridler, Texas

feral hogs and daffodils

December 10, 2008
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Categories: Bulb Information, Growing Daffodils, Planting, Soil

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Each region of the world seems to have their own issues that make farming or gardening trouble some. From birds to deer & rabbits, sheep to cattle, ground hogs to moles and gophers all these seem to aggravate the home gardeners….
Hogs were brought to the Americas on some of the first Spanish ships in the early 1500’s and released all along the gulf coast states of the USA. These were intended to create a wild herd that ship wrecked sailors could live on until the next ship came along to rescue them.
Anyway these hogs have no natural enemies and they multiply like rabbits. The photo is from my county Extension Agent’s 200 acre cattle ranch. For the past three years the hogs have continued to root up about 50 acres in search of grubs and grass roots. As you can see when you have a herd of hogs that you will have NO grass for the cattle.
The problem is that even though the hogs do not eat the daffodil bulbs they will root down through 2 feet or 60 CM of soil to find tender roots of weeds and grasses. Then they leave the land looking like this. They have seen a herd of only 50 hogs on this property. The young ones are really good to eat. The older ones are normally shot and left for the vultures.
Anyway the hogs prefer nice sandy loam soils to root around in. Normally the same types of soils that daffodils have naturalized in here in the southern USA.
Road construction or road widening in Texas is wiping out MANY of the old home sites where daffodils once were common.
Cattle men since the 1980’s have switched to round bales of hay that they leave stacked tight one bale against the other outside in the fields. Again these bales are placed on high ground that is sandy soiled and well drained, normally around the yards of the old homesteads of their great grand parents. These cover up the bulbs and smother them out.
Then you have the weekend gardeners from the big cities that appear every spring with their shovels to take clumps of “wild flowers” back home for a souvenir….They are ALMOST as bad as the hogs… Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
PS. I almost finished planting the last of the daffodils this week in sunny 70*F or 21*C temperatures. Soil was absolutely perfect moisture wise. Then a cold front blasted through with winds to 45 MPH, dumped and inch of rain (2.54 CM) and they predict 22*F for tomorrow or -6*C. I need to pick several thousand paper whites today as they will be mush in the morning. Shame that my wife Sandy is allergic to the scent from the tazettas…. KK

One response to “feral hogs and daffodils”

  1. Jason Delaney, Missouri Jason Delaney says:

    Keith, if you would like to send some of those feral hogs our way I can find a few acres of ground for them to cultivate… You’ll get an invite to the barbeque afterward for your participation. Oh, wait. We already have feral hogs, in the Ozarks. Never mind.
    Still, it seems like an incredibly sustainable way to cultivate the land. No fossil fuels or mechanization required; deep cultivation results every time; natural fertilizing along the way; and free barbeque as necessary to control the herd and feed the farm hands. Maybe Heifer International should look into this.
    I witnessed this sort of destruction (from wild boar) in the mountain forests of NE China last summer on a collecting expedition. Of considerable concern for the villagers in that region was how even small areas of destruction on such high and steep mountain slopes contribute to destructive mudslides during torrential rainstorms–the boars root up EVERYTHING in their feasting paths, including the much needed tree and under story scrub roots holding the soil to the rocks underneath. Of considerable concern to the expedition crew was a chance run-in with the boars–they are large, way ugly, and quite aggressive. Luckily we only encountered only one, and it bolted as soon as it saw us. Advantageous for us, at least as we followed the trails of freshly cultivated ground, was the ease in finding such things as Paeonia, Lilium, Arum, and Paris crowns, roots, and bulbs with little effort–especially if there had been a light rain to further expose the roots. Another advantage was a very rewarding and delicious local village wild boar barbeque at the end of the day. 😉
    Thanks for posting!
    Jason

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